Tips for Managing a Virtual Team
Posted on June 25, 2015
Our Intern Queen team members are all virtual, meaning they all work from home. Currently, we are a bi-coastal company where half of our team is LA-based and half of our team is NY-based. Having a remote environment has it’s ups and downs. I often get asked about management techniques. How do I manage a virtual team? Here are a few pointers:
- Face-to-Face Once Per Quarter. Although we weren’t able to do this during our first few years of business, I do try to sit down with my NYC team members at least once per quarter in NYC. I try to time my NYC trips so that I arrive a week or two after each quarter ends. This way, we can take the opportunity to review numbers, strategize for the new quarter, and do in-person evaluations.
- Weekly Team Calls. Once per week, we do a 30 minute team call to run through the status of the business where we have each employee report on what they are working on. This helps build a strong team environment and keeps everyone in the loop with one another.
- Skype Chats. We all sit in a group chat room on Skype all day long. In fact, Skype is my office. It’s how I know if my employees are on time for work. They type a message in the group chat and say “good morning” at 9AM EST and that’s how I know if they are on-time for work. We use the chat all day for work talk and for some small talk. If two team members are working on a project closely together, I encourage them to start their own private chat conversation on Skype. Currently, we don’t utilize the video portion of Skype unless we’re doing a training.
- Focusing on Connecting. When you’re in a remote environment, it’s important to keep your team motivated so they don’t feel like they’re isolated from other team members. Every day, I do at least a five minute check-in with my team to make sure they understand their priorities and can ask any questions they might have. We have virtual interns as well as virtual employees, to focus on making the interns feel connected, we invite them to listen to as many conference calls as possible. This helps them feel like they are in the loop and part of the team.
- Weekly Intern Mentor Call. We also do a call once per week with our entire team and our interns. There is one day each week when all of our interns are on at the same time (3 students) and we talk to them about what project they are working on, what they enjoy, what they want to do more of, and we encourage them to ask at least one team member a question about how they got started – or something career related. It’s important that we keep that mentorship theme/tone to our business even though we are remote.
- Evaluations Every Three Months. Since we are a remote company and I don’t get to sit in front of my team members on a daily basis, evaluations are crucial. It’s my job to let them know their performances are being reviewed and considered. We sit down every three months (at the end of each quarter) and do an evaluation with each employee. It’s important that they understand how they can grow with the company and see the opportunities in front of them. This is also an opportunity for our team members to share their personal goals.
For more of my workplace advice, read Welcome to the Real World. Enjoy!